by Kent Sterling
Indiana Pacers coach is the master of telling the media nothing. For a guy who had very little experience dealing with reporters eager to extract an inflammatory quote, Vogel has never indulged the urge to tell the unvarnished truth.
If there was ever a day when the media and Pacers fans everywhere would have loved to hear something other than “we’ll see,” “the effort is there,” “we need to go to work to fix our problems,” and “we need to keep Teague out of the paint,” this was it.
Here is the interview Vogel would give if he was questioned under oath:
Q: What do you need to do to change the mojo to win Game Two?
A: Basketball doesn’t have jack to do with mojo. It’s a matter of giving a damn, and these guys played like they were late for a nap Saturday night. That is, unless your nickname for Roy Hibbert’s is “Mojo”, then changing him is easy. I would change him into Ian Mahinmi.
Q: What’s going on with Lance Stephenson shooting the ball 18 times?
A: Do you think Lance doesn’t look at his paycheck? The kid makes five grand over a million, and Hibbert makes over $14 million. Hell, CJ makes more than double what Lance does. Christ, Andrew Bynum has played a total of 36 minutes this season for us, and he makes five thousand a year less than Lance. The kid wants to get paid, so he’s trying to put up big numbers on a big stage.
Sure, he’s shooting himself in the ass because when he shoots 12 or fewer times and has five or more assists, we win and the stage will get nothing but bigger which will mean a bigger paycheck ultimately, but he’s 23 and doesn’t know better.
Q: Can you get Roy Hibbert’s play back to where he was when he was an all-star?
A: That’s his job. I’m a coach, not a babysitter. Roy’s 27-years old, so it’s time for him to grow the hell up or get out. Herb Simon pays him over $150,000 a game to protect the rim and make hook shots. If he needs me to give him a kick in the ass, he should pay me to be his personal sports psychologist.
Q: How do you keep Jeff Teague out of the paint?
A: Did you watch the 30-for-30 on the Bad Boys? I’ll tell you how Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, and Bill Laimbeer would keep him from getting to the rim. They would knock him on his ass until he put on 20 pounds of muscle or stopped driving. We need to stake our claim to the paint, and enforce it with hard shots to Teague when he’s airborne. Funny what a meaningful consequence does to discourage aggressive offense.
Q: There are rumors that there is a feud between two players over a woman. What can you reveal?
A: That this isn’t the damn fifth grade, that’s what I can reveal! Have you ever seen “Casino”? Ginger asks Nicky to kill Ace, and Nicky says that he’s known Ace for 35 years, and he’s supposed to kill him for some piece of ass. We’re a team. No women get to meddle with that bond!
Q: Are you afraid that your job is in danger if the Pacers don’t get past the Hawks?
A: Afraid? Afraid would imply that there would be any doubt I will be fired if these dunderheads don’t get their heads out of their asses. There is no doubt – none – that I am a ghost if this doesn’t get turned around, and that’s just fine with me. Charles Barkley called us “wussies,” and I have no desire to coach a bunch of ‘wussies.” And I’ll tell you this, Larry Bird isn’t going to hire a different mild-mannered and reasonable guy to replace a mild-mannered and reasonable guy. He’s going to bring in a disciplinarian lunatic like P.J. Carlesimo to run the show. Then they’ll wish they had me for a coach.